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Plant Fiber Products Used in Newest Versions of Synthetic Turf

Artificial turf has come a long way since Astro-Turf which did not look, act, or feel real. Synthetic turf today, looks unbelievably realistic, is also water-resistant, heat-resistant, eco- friendly an d functions much more like the real thing. It is used largely on athletic fields to cut back on maintenance labor and keep costs down. There has also been more residential use in places where there are poor soil and drought making it tough to grow real lawns.

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One of the reasons for the higher quality synthetic turf is the use of more organic materials as components such as natural cork and ground fibers from the outside shell of coconuts called coir. They are being used in the infill along with backing materials of a woven or non-woven fabric, usually made of polypropylene or jute, into which the turf strands are tufted or attached. Three layers of fabric are glued together to make a strong composite that bonds the turf. Similar to the design of erosion mats for landscaping, this backing allows the turf to sit on prepared soil and drain properly, much like real grass. This advancement in technology comes in handy especially in large venues such as the 2016 Rio Olympic games where many temporary fields have altered the natural landscape.

These newer turf products may not last quite as long as those not using organic components, but when it is ready for replacing, it can be 100 percent recycled. The need for artificial turf stems from maintaining heavily used athletic fields, but in addition, it saves water resources to the tune of billions of gallons annually. It eliminates the use of chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, removes the need for fuel powered mowers, aerators, and seeders, and in some places, qualifies you for commercial and residential energy credits.

Plant-derived materials, like jute, coconut husks, and cork can work alone or be combined with crumb rubber. Getting rid of crumb rubber entirely still provides a quality surface without the worry of toxic chemicals in the recycled tire rubber affecting the health of children who may be playing on the turf in little leagues, school playgrounds, and community parks.

The higher the concentration of organic materials, the safer it is to use synthetic turf without damaging our health and environment. Professional athletic organizations, international soccer leagues, and college campuses have long debated real grass with artificial alternatives and keep coming back to the durability and lower cost of turf versus real grass. If this trend continues, it is to our advantage to use artificial turf made with plant fiber infill and backing to help integrate synthetic materials more easily into its natural surroundings.blog3-cloth

It is the 2016 Olympic season and there are certainly artificial playing fields being aggressively used in the games. Jute and other plant fiber fabrics not only construct the backing of the fields, but fencing, windbreaks, shade screens, equipment bags and containers, and even athletic clothing. Whether in the form of burlap, canvas, or non-woven cloth and composites, plant fiber products are being sufficiently represented.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 at 11:17 am and is filed under Go Green, Plant Fiber.

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